Narita-san Shinsho-ji: A Beautiful Temple and Park in Chiba With a Rich History

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  • There are so many temples in Japan but only some are incredibly popular. One temple which is well-known in the Kanto region is Narita-san Shinsho-ji which includes a huge complex of buildings and grounds. It is a favorite site for different pilgrimages and excursions of citizens in the region.

    The Founding of the Temple


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    The temple was primarily established in the year 940 as a way of commemorating the victory over the revolution started by Taira no Masakado, a samurai in the Heian period of Japan. The suppression of the force was accompanied by Kancho, a Shingon priest, who brought with him a carved image of the deity Acala from the Fire Offering Hall. The image was also used in stopping other rebellions through fire rituals (called “Goma”) by making offerings into the consecrated fire. Kancho completed a three-week ritual with the carved image which was believed to have finally ended the rebellion.

    Some people claimed that the image of Acala was too heavy to be moved back after the victory which is why a temple was built instead. It was named Shinshoji, meaning “New Victory Temple.” The original image can be seen enshrined in the main hall where it is displayed on certain occasions.

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    Narita-san was later promoted and enriched which prompted large crowds to join annual events (Oshogatsu, Setsubun, Noh plays, taiko drum festival, Gion festival, Obon, Shichigosan and the annual burning of amulets). A popular structure within the temple complex is Narita-san Park which opened in 1928. This park is enjoyable all throughout the seasons. It is painted in ume and sakura during spring and covered in different colors during autumn. There are over 350 cherry blossoms blanketing the whole area making it look pink.

    There are so many regular events happening in the temple complex which you can participate in. Some of these are the temple fairs and the ceremonial fire rituals where wooden amulets are burned several times a day. This is definitely an interesting temple to visit!

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